Describing the threshold for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio in 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said "I know it when I see it." Two panelists at this week's Sunstone Symposium worry that has also become the de facto standard for pornography both in the LDS Church and across America and it brings intense shame to those who wouldn't otherwise have a serious problem.
Infamous criminals from Ted Bundy to, most recently, Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro, have blamed their crimes on the influence of pornography. Porn addiction, however, is not an official diagnosis in the DSM-V, and pornography may not be the root cause of porn-related psychological conditions (Castro, for instance, says he was molested as a child). Kimberly McKay and Jeremy Irvin say that inadvertently viewing a Victoria's Secret catalog does not trigger an automatic descent into unspeakable criminal activity.
"What does it mean to have a pornography addiction? Does that mean that you looked at it one time and you felt aroused?" asks McKay, a Widener University doctoral candidate. "Because there's no clear conversation, people can start self-diagnosing themselves and having an addiction that doesn't exist."